The sky played a large role in Wednesday night’s Buzz Under the Stars show at Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park.
Not long after the band Alabama Shakes had finished a robust set and while stage crews were getting things ready for Garbage, organizers shut down the festival to wait out an on-coming storm. The delay would last more than two and a half hours. Instead of the scheduled time of 7:15 p.m., Garbage took the stage after 9:45 p.m. They would play before the largest crowd of the night -- several thousand. By the time Silversun Pickups closed the show before one of the smallest crowds of the night, it was nearly 1:15 a.m. -- more than eight hours after the five-band show began.
Garbage spent more time setting up than it did performing. The band’s dynamo lead singer, Shirley Manson, thanked fans copiously for waiting out the wind and rain, thanked everyone for the double-rainbow it all produced, then rewarded them a six-song, 30 minute set, which was interrupted when a fight broke out up front and she stopped a song to try to restore some calm. They sang a new one, “Control,” a couple of favorites, such as “Push It,” “Stupid Girl” and “Special.” And they closed with “Only Happy When It Rains,” which prompted an outburst of joy but felt like salt in the wound after such a criminally brief set from a band that hasn’t played these parts (as far as I can remember) since opening for U2 at Kemper Arena in November 2001
They gave way to Fun, who has now played here three times since April. Its set was pretty much like the other two: filled with lots of effervescence and glee. Its 10-song, 45-minute set included glammy show-tune pop anthems like “One Foot,” “Why Am I The One?,” “At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be),” “Carry On” and “We Are Young,” the song that launched them out of obscurity. Theatrical lead man Nate Reuss is the perfect showboat for his band’s bright and flashy songs. A good chunk of the crowd left after Fun’s set, which also could have been attributed to the late start. By the time its set was over, it was 20 minutes before midnight
The Silversun Pickups brought the night to a close, reviving the guitar -rock sounds of the ‘90s. Comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins are unavoidable, but on some of its latest material, the band does give its take on that brand of heavy rock a few twists, mostly via manic drummer Chris Guanlao and keyboardist Joe Lester. They opened a 10-song, 65-minute set with “Skin Graph,” one of four songs played from the “Neck of the Woods” album, released in May. They played a few off the “Swoon” album, including “The Royal We” “Panic Switch” and “Catch and Release.’ And they closed with their biggest hit, “Lazy Eye,” from their first album, “Carnavas,” now six years old. By the time they started that, the crowd size had dwindled into the hundreds, but they were diehards who didn’t let the weather and sleep-deprivation keep them from their hearing a favorite song one more time.
A word about the venue: The sound was good, the sight lines were good and the grounds in general make for a fine setting for live concerts. The stage faced north, towards the Missouri River, between the Paseo and Heart of America bridges. The next show at this park is Sept. 14: Gotye with Chairlift and Zammuto.
|Timothy Finn, The Star